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YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) – Japan produced a scintillating display of attacking rugby then withheld a spirited Scotland fightback to triumph 28-21 on a memorable night in Yokohama and reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time on Sunday.
Japan’s Kenki Fukuoka and team mates celebrate at the end of the match
Wing Kenki Fukuoka led the way with two tries, while Kotaro Matsushima and Keita Inagaki also scored as the hosts held off a fierce second-half assault from a team they had lost against in all seven of their previous meetings.
When Japan beat South Africa four years ago – having won only one of their previous 24 World Cup matches – it was considered the greatest shock in rugby history. This time, having already beaten Ireland three weeks ago, it did not even feel like a real surprise.
They were faster, sharper, more inventive and, roared on by the vast majority of the delirious red-and-white-clad crowd, absolutely relentless in everything they did as they became the first tier-two team to reach the last eight since Fiji in 2007.
Having won all four of their matches to top Pool A with 19 points, they will face the Springboks again in the quarter-finals
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